Cattle Panel Trellis: DIY Vertical Garden Projects

Vertical Growing Space Can Add Productivity, Health & A Decorative Focal Point

by Michelle Bruhn
PHOTO: Tomatoes growing on cattle panel trellis. Photo by Michelle Bruhn.

A cattle panel trellis can be a great way to add vertical growing space to your garden for pennies on the dollar compared to other arbors and trellises!

Cattle panels, also called hog panels or hog wire, are welded wire panels originally manufactured for easy-to-move fencing sections to hold cattle and hogs. They’re usually made with sturdy 4-gauge wire and measure 50 inches wide by 8 or 16 feet long. For roughly $25 for the 16-foot size, these are an affordable way to add vertical growing space to your garden, especially for vegetables. They’re covered with a thick zinc coating, called galvanized, to last at least 20 years outdoors.

While there are many ways to use a cattle panel trellis in the garden, we’ll focus on making a trellis and arbor. Before you start, make sure you’ve selected a sunny spot to place your trellis and consider the great screening effects of these structures as well. Since these will be covered in green by mid-season, you can easily add privacy and grow more food at the same time.

Tomato Wall Trellis


1- 16’ x 50” cattle panel/hog panel

3- T-posts, 8-10’ tall or so (your decision)

3-4’ – 14 gauge tie wire cut into 6” sections (or heavy-duty zip ties about 3 per t-post)

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Sledgehammer or post-driver
Measuring tape
Bolt cutter


Using your bolt cutter, cut the 16-foot cattle panel in half so you have two 8-foot x 50-inch pieces. You can also clip another row of the cross sections at the bottom of the cattle panel pieces to open up more space to push the panels deeper into the ground or rely more on the T-posts for stability.

Measure where you’ll place the three T-posts from the center point of your tomato wall trellis, making sure to keep all three posts in a very straight line. Hammer the three T-posts a few feet into the ground, you should leave at least 6 feet above ground to support the cattle panels.

Cut your tie wire into 6” sections. Place the two sections of cattle panel upright in front of the T-posts and secure with tie wire or zip ties in 3 places on each T-post.


Cattle Panel Arch


1 16’ x 50-inch cattle panel/hog panel

4 T-posts, 4-8’ tall or so (your decision)

4-5’- 14 gauge tie wire cut into 6” sections (or heavy duty zip ties about 3 per t-post)


Sledgehammer or post-driver
Measuring tape


Hammer two T-posts 4’ apart (just short the width of the cattle panel) a few feet deep. You can vary the width of the arch depending on the space you have. Measure to make sure the two sets of posts are perpendicular to create a straight arbor.

After the T-posts are driven in, you’ll need a few people to bend and place the cattle panel on the insides of the T-posts. Shape and bend the top of the arch, then secure with multiple pieces of tie wire or zip ties.

Growing Vertically

These trellis walls are some of the most productive square feet in our garden. Plants like tomatoes, pole beans, cucumbers, melons and squash will all grow healthier off the ground. These trellises give plants great air flow which means less disease. You can also capture more sun hours by creating a south-facing wall of plants. These cattle panel trellises also give gardeners easy access for tying up or weaving through plants, along with easier pruning and harvesting.

These cattle panels are truly the Swiss army knife of the garden. Once you start growing with them, the possibilities are endless.

This article about cattle panel trellis vertical gardening was written for Hobby Farms online. Click here to subscribe. 

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